Mango con Chile y Limon Cake

This idea came to me randomly a few weeks ago. I grew up in NY and it was a regular occurrence to see the street vendors selling baggies of mango or mangoes on a stick topped with chili powder. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out exactly how I wanted to incorporate these flavors.

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There was a lot of trial and error. As usual, the goal is to flavor and color using natural, preferably fresh, ingredients. There were A LOT of mangoes (I think I used 7 or 8–all scraps and leftovers went into the freezer for smoothies).

The sponge is a basic vanilla sponge infused with fresh mango puree, lime and lemon zest, fresh cayenne (no stems or seeds) and cayenne pepper (more control over the spice level).

The first layer is buttercream and macerated fresh mango slices. The top layer is a lime-mango curd. It’s mostly sweet and creamy but there’s a tartness to it due to  lime juice.

The outside buttercream is flavored with a little smoked paprika, chili powder and a little cayenne plus lime juice and zest.

I taught myself to make mango roses, which serve as the decoration along with some whipped cream.


Ingredients:

Sponge:

2 ½ C flour

1 ½ C sugar

2 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1/2 c milk

1/2 c butter, room temperature

4 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ C mango puree

Spices (to taste): cayenne pepper, 2-5 cayenne peppers seeded and deveined, lemon zest, lime zest

Mango-Lime Curd:

1 large ripe mango

½ cup fresh lime juice

Squeeze of lemon juice

½- 1 tbsp of lime zest

½ tsp kosher salt

¾ cup sugar, divided (1/2:1/4)

3 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 stick of butter, cubed or thinly sliced

Lime Simple Syrup:

3/4  cup of water

¼ cup of lime juice

1 cup of sugar

Vanilla Buttercream:

2 sticks softened butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Roughly 5 cups of powdered sugar

Spiced Buttercream (optional/to taste):

Vanilla Buttercream

Smoked paprika

Chili powder

Cayenne pepper

Lime zest

Reserve:

2 mango cheeks, thinly sliced


Curd:

  1. Slice fresh mango
    1. In a small bowl add sugar or simple syrup
    2. Toss to coat, let restUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_17d
  2. In a food processor, puree mango and transfer to a sauce pan
  3. Add lime zest and juice, salt and ½ c sugar
  4. Simmer while stirring until sugar dissolves
  5. Option 1: in a bowl, whisk eggs and remaining sugar until the yellow lightens
  6. Carefully and slowly stream in about half of the hot mango mixture into the eggs
    1. This is called tempering, do not rush this or you will cook the eggsUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_186
  7. Strain
  8. Pour the egg and mango mixture back into the sauce pan and whisk constantly until it thickens
    • Do not let this boil
  9. Option 2: Combine ingredients and whisk constantly over a double boiler until it thickensUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_180UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_193
  10. Once thickened, remove from heat and add the butter a few pieces at a time and stir until fully incorporated before adding the next few
  11. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the top of the curd so it doesn’t develop a weird skin
    1. Chill for 2-24 hours

Simple Syrup:

  1. In a sauce pan, combine the ingredients
  2. Simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved
  3. Refrigerate and store in a container

Sponge: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease and parchment 2 9”round cake pans or 3 8” round cake pans
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and gelatin using the paddle attachment
  4. Add the softened butter
  5. Add the vanilla
  6. Add the milk
  7. Add the egg whites, beat to combine
  8. Scrape down bowl
  9. Add mango puree
  10. Slowly incorporate the spices and the zestPhoto taken with Focos
    • I recommend starting with a teaspoon of zest and working up
    • I recommend starting with a dash of cayenne
    • Optional: seed and devein cayenne peppers and finely dice, start with a small amount and work your way up
    • My proportions were zest > cayenne pepper>cayenne peppersDivide cake between cake pans
  11. Bake until they pass the toothpick test
  12. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pansUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_18c
  13. Carefully poke some holes into the cake (not all the way through)
  14. Carefully spoon some of the syrup over the sponges and allow to rest so they can fully sop up the goodness

Vanilla Buttercream:

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium until the butter looks white and fluffy
  2. Add vanilla
  3. On low speed, slowly and carefully add the powdered sugar about a cup at a time
  4. Slowly increase the speed and whip until well incorporated
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all of your sugar is used

Spiced Buttercream (Optional):

  1. Split ½-3/4 of the vanilla buttercream
  2. Starting with a small amount, slowly add the spices and TASTE adjusting for your preference
    1. My proportions were zest>chili powder> smoked paprika> cayenne
    2. This was a sweet and flavorful buttercream that left a curious and slightly spicy finish

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Assembly:

Bottom layer: Sponge

Next layer: Buttercream and the macerated mangoes (shake off excess liquid)

Next layer: Sponge

Next layer: Buttercream perimeter filled with curd

Next layer: Sponge

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Photo taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_17eUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_194Photo taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_196Photo taken with FocosPhoto taken with FocosPhoto taken with Focos

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Jerk Chicken Plantain Patties

Ingredients:

 

Plantain Dough

Flour

 

2 chicken breasts

Seasoning (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander, smoked paprika)

 

½ head of a small green cabbage

1 small red onion

1 small sweet onion

1 serrano pepper

1 red jalapeno pepper

 

1-2 tbsp Grace Jerk Seasoning

Low-sodium Chicken Broth

2-3 tbsp brown sugar

Squeeze lime juice

1 tbsp butter

 

½ cup black beans

1 egg for egg wash

(Yields about 20 medium sized patties)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 420
  2. Butterfly and season chicken breasts (or boneless skinless thighs)
  3. Heat cast iron (or heavy bottom) skillet on medium-medium high, sear chicken on both sides, cook mostly through
  4. Remove from heat
  5. Deglaze pan with ½ cup chicken broth

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  1. Dice onions, slice cabbage, chop peppers, chop cilantro
  2. Set 2 tbsp of red onion to the side
  3. Sautee remaining peppers and onions until softened, season lightly with s&pplantain8
  4. Remove a tbsp of cooked onions and peppers and put in a small bowl
  5. Add cabbage to peppers and onions, add reserved red onion and toss together

 

  1. In the small bowl, mash beans together with the onion and pepper, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juiceplantain11

 

  1. Set chicken to the side

 

  1. Bring the deglazed pan to a boil, add jerk seasoning, squeeze of lime juice, butter and brown sugar

 

  1. Stir and taste, adjust seasoning if necessary (I added additional clove to pump up the jerk)

 

  1. Chop chicken and add to the jerk sauce, sprinkle a little corn starch and stir, sauce should thicken

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  1. Toss with cabbage mixture and set aside to cool

 

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  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment
  2. Flour surface and roll out plantain dough to about 1/8-1/4”
  3. Using a round container (I used the small soup container from Chinese take out)
  4. Place discs on parchment
  5. Assemble:
    1. Flour surface
    1. Gently elongate disc using rolling pin/tool
    1. Black bean mixture, shredded cheese, chicken and cabbage
    1. Fold shut and press to secure
    1. Gently crimp using a fork
    1. Place complete patties on second lined baking sheetplantain21plantain23plantain24plantain26plantain27
  6. Brush finished patties with egg washplantain28plantain29plantain30plantain31
  7. You can freeze on baking sheet then store in a freezer bag
    • Bake from frozen at 400 on lined baking sheet
  8. If serving right away, bake at 420 until golden brown, edges will be crispy
  9. Store in the fridge in an airtight containerplantain32plantain33plantain34plantain35plantain36

 

 

 

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Plantain Dough

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3 ripened plantains

1 green plantain

¾- 1 c flour, extra for dusting

1 egg

2 tsp vegetable oil

Salt

Pepper

 

  1. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil
  2. Chop plantains into thirds or quarters, skin intactplantainplantain18
  3. Boil for 20-30 or fork tender
  4. Remove and allow to cool enough to handleplantain4plantain5
  5. In a food processor, puree everything together except for the flour
  6. A ball should begin to form, add flour a quarter at a time until fully incorporated, no chunksplantain7plantain6
  7. Dough should not be too sticky
  8. Plop onto floured surface, dust dough and knead incorporating flour until the dough doesn’t stick to the surfaceplantain19plantain20
  9. This dough can be used for empanadas/patties or get creative with layers for a lasagna, taco shells, pot pie crust, pizza crust, etc. you name it.
  10. To freeze: Press into disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap before storing in freezer bag. Allow to thaw completely before using.

plantain21plantain22plantain23plantain28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

Strawberry-Raspberry Poptart Cupcakes

I make my son special cupcakes for his birthday each year. When I asked him what he wanted this year he told me he wanted a Poptart cupcakes and I kind of just stared at him. Frankly it just sounded like a lot of work and there was no guarantee that I could pull it off because who the hell has heard of Poptart cupcakes. At first I was going to blow him off and just “you get what you get what” him.

 

But I started playing with the idea.

 

I went to the Google to see if I was on the right track. I was surprised to find that all of the other recipes I saw were….not like this. So I sat down and worked it out and this is what I came up with. I fully intend on doing these again. There are just so many flavor-filling options!

 

We prefer strawberry Poptarts. I decided to pump up the berry by adding raspberry to the mixture. I matched the tangy raspberry with the tart lemon juice. The jam is bright and tart, so it cuts through the sweetness of the other components. The jam would be amazing on a croissant *drool*.

It may look like a lot of work but just break it up into steps. Some things you can make ahead. This is my suggested order:

  1. Cupcake
  2. Jam
  3. Icing
  4. Decorate

 

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes

For Jam:

1 pint of raspberries

1 cup of roughly chopped strawberries

1/4-1/2  sugar

1/8 c water

1/8 c lemon juice

Tsp lemon zest

 

For Icing:

2 egg whites, room temperature

4+ c confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 ½ c melted white sugar morsels

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp water, if needed

 

Decorations:

Pieces of poptart

Strawberry jello

Sugar crystals*

 

  1. Prepare the vanilla cupcakes

For the jam:

  1. Combine the liquids and the sugar
  2. Stir until sugar melts
  3. Add berries
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer
  5. Simmer covered until the berries start to break down (you can smush to help it along)
  6. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until the liquid begins to evaporate and the mixture thickens (this is called reducing).
  7. Taste and adjust to your preference.
  8. You want a pretty thick, scoop-able consistency but honestly, you just don’t want it watery. Otherwise your sponge will just sop it up and then your filling won’t be much of a filling.
  9. Set aside to cool. (This is an easily adjustable recipe, this was more than enough for 12 cupcakes and breakfast toast the next day.)

For the icing:

  1. While the cupcakes are cooling, melt the white chocolate over a double boiler
  2. Set aside to cool
  3. In your stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the whites until they’re fluffy
  4. Add vanilla extract
  5. Slowly incorporate some of the powdered sugar
  6. Mix in the white chocolate
  7. Continue adding the sugar
    1. Here is where I hiccupped, my icing was way drippier than I wanted. Add as much sugar as you need to achieve a thick-spread that won’t drip down a bunch.
  8. Prepare your decorations
    1. I could not find crystal sprinkles so I made colored sugar*
  9. Poke your finger or a cylindrical tool deep into the cupcakes to form a divot. You don’t want to poke through the cake
  10. Fill the divots with the cooled jam
  11. Spread the thick icing on top
  12. Stick in poptart pieces
  13. Sprinkle with sprinkles or sugar and strawberry jello

 

Happy 8th Birthday, kid.

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Simple Vanilla Cupcake

This is my go to vanilla cupcake recipe. Because it’s such a perfect vehicle, I use this as the base for 90% of my cupcakes.

I don’t generally like a super sweet sponge because usually I am loading it up with buttercream, chocolate or fillings. So I often opt to use less sugar. If you enjoy a sweeter cupcake then I suggest 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Some recipes call for milk or cream, however, I substitute sour cream. This yields a moister cake. That’s a 1:1 ratio. So if you prefer to use milk or cream or if that’s all you have, just remember it’s a direct conversion

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Simple Vanilla

 

 

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Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1⅓ cups AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 stick (1/2 c) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup light sour cream

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Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F

Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using your paddle attachment and your stand mixer, cream (beat together) the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Scrape the bowl as necessary.

Add eggs one at a time. Make sure the first is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Turn the mixer down to slow.

Add half of the dry ingredients

Add sour cream

Add remaining dry ingredients

Be careful not to overmix the batter but be sure that everything is well incorporated.

Divide the batter into the tins. This is enough for 12 decent size cupcakes.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, toothpick check and cool on a wire rack.

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Red Velvet White Chocolate Cheesecake

Last year I posted the recipe for my Red Velvet Cheesecake. This is almost the exact same recipe except I tinkered with the cheesecake, buttercream and decorations.

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I will not bore you with a story about my grandma’s time on the farm when she milked a cow and made her own white chocolate.

 

I will just say this is labor intensive. Plan ahead. Be organized. Make. Your. Cheesecake. Ahead. Of. Time. And I do recommend using a quality white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli white chocolate baking bars).

 

Aside from the white chocolate, the pictures show double the cheesecake unlike my previous Red Velvet Cheesecake. This is not required but I wanted to show out because baking is therapy and I needed to do. So, yeah. This is pretty legit.

 

Oh, did I mention that white chocolate is in the cheesecake and the buttercream AND as a topping? Yeah.

 

Too legit.

 

To quit (rimshot).

 

 

Cheesecake:

 

2-8oz cream cheese, room temp

1 C sugar

3 tbsp sour cream, room temp

½ tbsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

½ tbsp. corn starch

1/8 tsp salt

4 oz melted white chocolate

 

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i always love The Spread

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Place a heat-resistant bowl on top of a pot with a small amount of water. Bring it to a boil and lower to a simmer. Put your white chocolate pieces (as close as you can get to same size) in the bowl. Stir occasionally as it melts. Remove from the pot when it’s like 90% melted, continue stirring until the carry over heat melts the remaining chocolate.
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    please don’t skimp on the chocolate

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    my widdle piggy is fun Marshall’s

  3. At the same time, preferably, start your mixer and whip the softened cream cheese.
  4. Add the sour cream
  5. Add the sugar and vanilla
  6. Add the corn starch
  7. Add the eggs one at a time
  8. Scrape down the sides, mix until combined.
    1. You don’t want to see any large flecks of cream cheese, small specks are okay.
  9. Add the slightly cooled white chocolate to the cheesecake mixture, combine well.

    10061fc4-b01c-4331-8b5a-61afb49bcd5d

    white chocolate being added to the cheesecake batter

  10. Cut a circle large enough to fit into the bottom of a 9” cake pan
  11. Spray with cooking spray, place parchment
  12. Pour cheesecake mixture into the pan, gently tap the pan on your counter to release any bubbles
  13. Bake for roughly an hour
  14. The cheesecake will be slightly jiggly in the center, a tad firmer towards the edges
    1. This cheesecake is a filling so some browning and cracks are fine. No one is going to see this. This is basically sacrilegious for traditional cheesecake, I know, but trust me.
    2. If it starts getting too Beyonce Bronze, tent it loosely with some foil.
  15. Allow the cheesecake to cool
  16. Cover with plastic wrap and allow cheesecake to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight preferably

 

 

Red Velvet Sponge

 

2 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2-3 tbsp cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, room temperature

1 cup of buttermilk, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 tbsp red food coloring (more or less to suit your preference)

1 tsp white vinegar

Pro tip: Boost your cocoa flavor by adding ½ cup of very strong coffee or instant espresso!! Remember when I used this technique in brownies?

 

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F

In the bowl of your mixer, combine your dry ingredients

 

In a medium bowl, first combine your sugar and oil then add in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and food coloring

 

Add in your vinegar

 

Add in your coffee or espresso if you’re going to use  it

With your mixer on low, slowly incorporate the wet into the dry bit by bit

Note: This is not a thick batter

 

Grease and flour two 9” cake pans and divide batter into 3-4 cupcake tins plus the pans

(This can also be used just for cupcakes, freeze any excess batter in a ziplock bag for next time!)

Bake for 30-35 minutes in the center of the oven, start checking for doneness around 30 minutes

(your cupcakes will be done quicker, check for doneness around 16 minutes)

When the cake passes the toothpick test remove from the oven and cool on a rack then cool upside down to help flatten out the tops

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While cooling, whip up some buttercream

 

 

 

Vanilla Buttercream:

2 sticks softened butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Roughly 5 cups of powdered sugar

3 oz white chocolate melted, reserve 1 oz for decoration

 

Repeat the steps from above to melt 3 oz white chocolate

In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium until the butter looks light and fluffy52bdd84b-b5f0-4496-8d97-59c206a6a3f4

Add vanilla

On low speed, slowly and carefully add the powdered sugar about a cup at a time

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Slowly increase the speed and whip until well incorporated

Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all of your sugar is used

Add slightly cooled white chocolate and whip until incorporated

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Leftover buttercream can be stored in the freezer in a ziplock bag.

 

 

The Show:

 

Once completely cooled stack sponge-cheesecake-sponge

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Spread your buttercream on the sides and top of the cake—work quickly or make sure the room is warm. The buttercream will seize and harden because of the white chocolate.

(It will create a sort of ganache around the cake, so don’t be alarmed. Do you’re best. No one is going to really see this).

 

Crumble up your cupcakes and sprinkle on/around your cake

 

Nuke your remaining ounce of white chocolate at 10 second intervals, slightly warm but not soft.

 

Use a vegetable peeler and start peeling carefully on the straightest edge. Use your ribbons to decorate how you see fit.

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Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

© 2019  by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

Simple Vanilla Cheesecake Filling

This can absolutely be used for a traditional cheesecake with a graham cracker or cookie crust. I’m posting this separate from my other ‘cheesecake’ recipes so it’s less confusing to figure out how to recreate the filling.

I’ve used this recipe for the Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake, Red Velvet Cheesecake and the Red Velvet White Chocolate Cheesecake.

Ingredients:

2-8oz cream cheese, room temp

1 C sugar

3 tbsp sour cream, room temp

½ tbsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

½ tbsp. corn starch

1/8 tsp salt

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  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, whip the softened cream cheese.
  3. Add the sour cream
  4. Add the sugar and vanilla
  5. Add the corn starch
  6. Add the eggs one at a time
  7. Scrape down the sides, mix until combined
    1. You don’t want to see any large flecks of cream cheese, small specks are okay.
  8. Cut a circle large enough to fit into the bottom of a 9” cake pan
  9. Spray with cooking spray, place parchment
  10. Pour cheesecake mixture into the pan, gently tap the pan on your counter to release any bubbles
  11. Bake for roughly an hour
    1. The cheesecake will be slightly jiggly in the center, a tad firmer towards the edges
    2. This cheesecake is a filling so some browning and cracks are fine. No one is going to see this. This is basically sacrilegious for traditional cheesecake, I know, but trust me.
  12. Allow the cheesecake to cool
  13. Cover with plastic wrap and allow cheesecake to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight preferably

 

 

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© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Cauliflower Chicken Alfredo with Penne

1lb Penne Rigate

1 chicken breast (your preferred cooking method or rotisserie)

2 cup fresh spinach

1 small shallot (of ½ small red onion) finely diced

1 zucchini

1 squash

1 head of garlic

4 tbsp unsalted butter

½ head of cauliflower (cut into florets)

Buttermilk

Heavy Cream*

½ – 1C parmesan

1-2 C shredded Italian cheese

 

Salt

Pepper

Paprika

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Nutmeg (small dash)

 

Olive oil

Worcestershire sauce

 

 

Prepare your chicken. I chose to sous vide mine and began working on the other components.

Cut your garlic head at the top 1/3. Place in foil and cover in olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for about a half hour. It will become very fragrant.

Steam your cauliflower, remove.

Boil and drain your pasta, set aside.

 

I used an immersion blender in a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use your food processor or quality blender. You want this as smooth as possible.

 

Add in the butter, the buttermilk (I used both heavy cream and buttermilk because I needed to use up the cream. Feel free to use which ever you like but no lower than whole milk).

Add in the Worcestershire sauce, the spices and roasted garlic.  Blend until very smooth.

Taste and adjust your seasonings as necessary.

In a sauce pan, add olive oil and soften your onion or shallots. Add the spinach, salt and pepper. Add the zucchini and the squash. Cook until fork tender. Remove and set aside.

 

(At this point I had to sear off my chicken for some good ol’ Maillard)

I removed the chicken, add the sauce to the pan and stirred up on the brown bits. I added the cheese at this point. I added the chicken juices to this too.

 

I added the vegetables and the sliced chicken back to the sauce. Heat through.

 

Toss with pasta.

 

Listen.

This is the truth.

 

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Secret Family Recipe: Chili

I apologize now. I do. Because of the length of this introduction. But listen….it’s necessary. When you taste your chili, you’ll understand why. If you scroll by my feelings will not be hurt LOL.)

Okay….Technically this isn’t a family recipe. This is a recipe you lie and claim to be a secret family recipe. Then you proceed to stunt and accept all of the praise.

I don’t know about y’all but I have two versions of most of my favorite recipes. I have my weeknight version where we show Sandra Lee how to cut corners on a recipe. (Bless that lady’s heart. Have y’all seen that Kwanzaa cake??) My weeknight versions are way less labor intensive than the original versions. My weeknight chili is light-years easier than this recipe. The thing is, though it’s still delicious, you’re sacrificing the layers of flavor that tell your taste buds that this was made with love and intention.

Some people like ground beef and others like whole chunks of beef. Do what you want. I prefer ground beef so I bought a whole chuck roast and pulled out my food grinder. It was cheaper than buying a huge thing of ground chuck. We are frugal around these parts.

Notice I have not mentioned anything about authenticity. My folk are from the south and I’m from Long Island, New York. So, yes, I put beans in my damn chili.

This recipe has so many different flavor profiles. Smokey, sweet, umami! Oh, the umami! I’m sure some ingredients might give you pause but listen, Linda.  There is such depth of flavor and color. It’s a beautiful dish in both preparation and presentation.

There are many steps to this recipe but once you get a groove going you’ll see it come together quite quickly. The key is to stay organized! It may look like a lot but trust me, you will taste every single step. It is worth it.

Believe me.


Ingredients:

Chile Paste:

4 dried New Mexico chiles

4 dried ancho chiles

3 chipotle chiles (in adobo)

2 anchovies (alternatively, you can use 1/2 tsp fish sauce per filet)

4 cups low sodium chicken broth,

2 tbsp of tomato paste

1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar

4+ garlic cloves (I used like 6. It’s garlic, bro.)

2 tbsp smoked paprika

4 tsp dried coriander*

4 tsp dried cumin*

2 tsp black pepper

2-3 fresh cayenne peppers, optional

(*I have yet to commit to using whole spices. If that’s your preference, the dried conversion comes to roughly 1 1/2 tbsp of whole spices, each.)

Chili:

2 to 3 lbs beef (ground or cubed)

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 clove garlic, minced or grated (did you buy a microplane yet?)

1-2 fresh jalepeno or serrano chiles

1 can of pinto (or whatever you like, rinsed and drained)

3 bay leaves

1 (14oz) can of fire roasted diced/chopped tomatoes

1 (14oz) can of diced/chopped tomatoes

1/8 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4-1/3 chopped cilantro, optional (if you’re one of those soapy people)


Chile Paste:

(*signifies that it applies to the whole spices too, if used)

  1. Heat up a dry skillet
  2. Remove the core, seeds and stems of your dried peppers
  3. Cut or tear the chiles and toast them (and whole spices* if you’re using them) for about a minute or two in the hot skill
    • They will be warm and fragrant
    • Shake the pan or stir frequently, we don’t want to burn them.
    • Fill a bowl with hot water and add your toasted chiles
    • Allow them to steep for at least ten minutes in order to reconstitute them
    • 4a. Grind your whole spices at this point*
  4. Put the reconstituted chiles* in a blender or food processor
    • Add anchovies or fish sauce, tomato paste, cocoa powder, chipotles, garlic cloves, black pepper and brown sugar
    • Add your other spices*
    • Add 2-3 cups of chicken broth
    • Puree until smooth

Note: This can be made ahead of time. It can also be frozen and used at a later date.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large heavy bottomed or Dutch Oven, brown your beef and season with s&p
  3. When the meat is almost cooked through, add your jalapeno or serrano chile, chopped garlic, bell pepper and onions, cook until softened.
  4. To this mixture, add your chile paste
    • Be sure to stir for a few minutes to help eliminate some of the raw tomato paste flavor and basically kick start the spices that we added!
  5. Using the remaining chicken stock and a spatula to clean out your food processor or blender. Waste not want not.
  6. Pour this into you pan or dutch oven
  7. Using your spoon or spatula stir while scraping the bottom of the pan
    • this step is called deglazing. This allows us to clean the bottom of the pan. All those brown bits are flavor and ain’t that what we here for?
  8. Add your two cans of tomato, beans and bay leaves
  9. Bring your pot to a boil, stir and then lower to a simmer
    • Do not worry if your chili seems too loose, it will reduce and thicken.
  10. Taste and gently season with salt if you need to.
    • Do not over do it, because the chili is going to reduce and the flavor will concentrate.
  11. Add bay leaves
  12. Cover and place in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours
  13. Stir Occasionally
    • Taste so that you can see how the flavors continue to develop!
  14. The chili will darken, thicken and reduce, which is indicated on the walls of my pot (as pictured)
  15. Add apple cider vinegar and stir in cilantro
    • I saw this on some random cooking show and tried it one night. Such a complex acidic flavor. Again, trust me. If you’re that afraid, try a generous splash.
  16. Taste and adjust as necessary
    • Personal note: This is where we clean it all up. At this point, I’m tasting and adjusting. I’m correcting my seasoning. I’m adding additional things that might help it along depending on what my palate is saying. I might need more sugar, more pepper, more garlic, more acid. This is where personal preference comes into play as well.
    • Greedy note: THIS IS AMAZING THE NEXT DAY OMGOMGOMGOINK

Serve this up with your favorite fix-ins. We rolled with sour cream and shredded sharp cheddar with a side of homemade cornbread. If you’re feeling yourself because you made some bomb ass chili? Next time, walk with me, try this…. Pumpkin. Cornbread. You’re welcome.

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© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Red Velvet Swirled Blondies

Ingredients

1- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup AP flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2-1 tsp red coloring

1/4 cup cocoa powder, more to taste

 

 


 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In the bowl of your mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy

3. Slowly add egg and vanilla

4. Scrape bowl as needed

5. Combine the dry ingredients

6. Carefully add dry to wet

7. Grease or line a 13×9 baking pan (11×7 for a slightly thicker cut)

8. Portion out about 75% of the batter into the baking pan

9. To the remaining batter, add the cocoa powder and food coloring

• Adjust this to your preference

• Easier to add than remove

10. Spread the plain batter to fit the pan

11. Dollop the red velvet batter around the pan

12. Using a knife, drag through the batter to create your swirls

13. Ensure the batter is evenly spread

14. Bake for 18-20 minutes, start checking around 15 minutes.

15. Use the toothpick method to determine doneness

16. Cool on a cooling rack

 

© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved